Peter D. Feaver

Peter D. Feaver

Professor of Political Science

External Address: 
287 Gross Hall, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4331
International Relations, Security, Peace, Conflict

Peter D. Feaver (Ph.D., Harvard, 1990) is a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University.  He is Director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. Feaver is author of Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (Harvard Press, 2003) and of Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States (Cornell University Press, 1992). He is co-author: with Christopher Gelpi and Jason Reifler, of Paying the Human Costs of War (Princeton Press, 2009); with Susan Wasiolek and Anne Crossman, of Getting the Best Out of College (Ten Speed Press, 2008, 2nd edition 2012); and with Christopher Gelpi, of Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force (Princeton Press, 2004). He is co-editor, with Richard H. Kohn, of Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (MIT Press, 2001).  He has published numerous other monographs, scholarly articles, book chapters, and policy pieces on grand strategy, American foreign policy, public opinion, nuclear proliferation, civil-military relations, and cybersecurity.
From June 2005 to July 2007, Feaver served as Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security Council Staff at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy, regional strategy reviews, and other political-military issues. In 1993-94, Feaver served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy review, counterproliferation policy, regional nuclear arms control, and other defense policy issues.  He is an emeritus member of the Aspen Strategy Group, blogs at “Elephants in the Room” at, and is a Contributing Editor to Foreign Policy magazine.  


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1990
  • B.A., Lehigh University 1983

Feaver, P. D., and Jim Falkenberg. “Meeting Soviet Citizens’ Spiritual Needs.” Christian Science Monitor, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. “Does Moscow Know Where Its Nukes Are?L.A. Times, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. The Evolution of American Nuclear Doctrine. Edited by Graham Allison and et al, Lanham, M.D.: University Press of America, 1990.

Feaver, P. D., and Robert P. Beschel. “Problem: Scare the Iraqis You Terrorize the Home Folks.” L.A. Times, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. “Vietnam’s Wrong Lesson in the Gulf.” Christian Science Monitor, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. An Assessment of the Survivability of Unmanned Air Vehicles Performing Target Acquisition for Battlefield Nuclear Forces. Institute for Defense Analyses, Memorandum Report, M-533, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. The Spread of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy: Promise or Peril. Edited by Frank Kaleb Jansen, Pasadena, CA: Global Mapping International, 1989.

Feaver, P. D., and Peter Stein. Who Needs PALs. Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, Oct. 1988.